Welsh Baccalaureate at Key Stage 4


What is the Welsh Baccalaureate?

The central focus of the Welsh Baccalaureate at Key Stage 4 is to provide a vehicle for 14-16 year olds to consolidate and develop essential and employability skills. The qualification will help learners to prepare for their future by developing skills, attributes and behaviours valued by post-16 educators and potential employers. The emphasis in the Welsh Baccalaureate is on applied learning i.e. acquiring and applying a range of transferable skills. Learners will develop skills in the context of purposeful tasks and appropriate knowledge and understanding. The Welsh Baccalaureate will encourage the learner to value skills development as a key aspect of education and life-long learning. Offering a learning experience relevant to the needs and demands of the workplace will develop learners’ confidence, drive and initiative, preparing them to enter, succeed and progress in the world of work.

Through the Welsh Baccalaureate learners will raise their skills levels and confidence, enabling and empowering them to take their place as responsible and active citizens within a diverse society. Alongside and through the development of skills, the Welsh Baccalaureate provides learners with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of society, the community in which they live and an awareness of global issues, events and perspectives.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is based on a Skills Challenge Certificate alongside Supporting Qualifications. The requirements of both the Skills Challenge Certificate and Supporting Qualifications must be met in order to achieve the overarching Welsh Baccalaureate. The Skills Challenge Certificate consists of four components which are followed by all learners:

  • Individual Project
  • Enterprise and Employability Challenge
  • Global Citizenship Challenge
  • Community Challenge

The combined outcomes of the four components will determine whether the Skills Challenge Certificate is awarded at National or Foundation level.

The Supporting Qualifications include two mandatory GCSEs of English Language or Welsh Language together with Mathematics-Numeracy or Mathematics. A further three GCSEs are also required, of which two may be of equivalent qualifications.

To meet the National Welsh Baccalaureate requirements all five of the Supporting Qualifications must be achieved at grades A*-C. Similarly, for the Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate the Supporting Qualifications must be achieved at grades A*-G.

The following diagram illustrates the routes towards achievement of the Welsh Baccalaureate at Key Stage 4.

The focus of the Skills Challenge Certificate will be on the essential and employability skills young people need in their future lives and these skills will be developed and assessed through an Individual Project and three Challenges. The Skills Challenge Certificate has been designed to include learning and assessment which will enthuse, engage and motivate learners in the classroom, the workplace and the wider community. Learners will be required to consider how the application of their learning may impact on individuals, employers, society and the environment. The qualification has been devised around the concept of a ‘plan, do, and review’ approach to learning where learners are introduced to a context for learning, plan activities, carry out activities, review outcomes and learning.

The aims of the Welsh Baccalaureate are to:

  • develop and assess a wide range of essential and employability skills;
  • promote the value and development of skills for education, life and work;
  • provide opportunities to develop and assess skills through purposeful, meaningful and engaging learning experiences;
  • make learning relevant and set in real-life contexts for real-life purposes;
  • build on and align with the wider curriculum and associated learning frameworks.

The objectives of the Welsh Baccalaureate are for learners to be able to:

  • develop an appreciation of the importance of skills development as a key aspect of life-long learning;
  • engage in active, creative, open-ended and learner-led opportunities;
  • enquire and think for themselves, plan, make choices and decisions, solve problems and reflect on and evaluate these;
  • broaden their experience through engagement with external organisations;
  • develop as effective, responsible and active citizens ready to take their place in a global society and in the workplace;
  • develop initiative, independence and resilience; •increase their confidence and their motivation for learning and skills development;
  • work independently, take on responsibilities and work effectively with others.

Essential and employability skills

The Welsh Baccalaureate aims to enable learners to develop and demonstrate an understanding of and proficiency in essential and employability skills. These are the skills that employers and nextstage educators value and which learners need for learning, work and life.

The seven essential and employability skills are: •Literacy •Numeracy •Digital Literacy •Critical Thinking and Problem Solving •Planning and Organisation •Creativity and Innovation •Personal Effectiveness

The Welsh Baccalaureate will: •enable learners to consolidate and formalise learning of skills; •provide a theoretical underpinning of knowledge and techniques related to skills; •encourage reflection, analysis and articulation of the learner’s own proficiency in the skills; •engage learners in exploring, developing, practicing and applying the skills; •increase confidence and effectiveness in the use and application of the skills in a range of meaningful and ‘real-life’ contexts and purposes.

Clear, purposeful assessment of the essential and employability skills will include:

The Literacy skills are those specified for and assessed through GCSE English Language and/or Welsh Language and should also be developed through the Individual Project and the Challenges.


The Numeracy skills are those specified for and assessed through GCSE Mathematics Numeracy and should also be developed through the Individual Project and the Challenges.


  • Understand and respond appropriately to risks and problems in order to communicate safely in a digital world
  • Use social media safely and effectively
  • Understand and manage own digital footprint
  • Use, manipulate or create data and information and present it digitally for different audiences
  • Be able to find, organise, store, manage, share and protect digital information
  • Evaluate the reliability of sources of information
  • Use digital techniques and methods for a range of activities including: collaboration, team working, creativity, problem solving and learning


  • Understand and apply decision-making and problem-solving approaches and techniques
  • Identify and analyse problems or issues
  • Identify potential solutions or responses and reasons for different views
  • Be able to justify decisions
  • Identify and develop arguments
  • Critically assess the strength of options and arguments, take into account opposing views or alternative ideas, validity and reliability
  • Demonstrate resilience and perseverance
  • Reflect on approaches and techniques for critical thinking, decision making and problem solving and own proficiency in them


  • Understand how to and be able to generate ideas and identify and make the most of opportunities
  • Demonstrate original thinking and an ability to identify and challenge assumptions
  • Be able to combine or develop ideas
  • Assess and evaluate ideas, choosing and implementing options
  • Demonstrate imagination and initiative
  • Reflect on the process and identify how it could be improved


  • Understand the importance of clear aims and objectives
  • Be able to develop and agree aims and objectives and set targets or milestones
  • Demonstrate responsibility and reliability
  • Be able to produce a plan, identify and manage resources, timescales, activities and allocate responsibilities
  • Select, organise and evaluate information relevant to the objective or plan
  • Implement the plan
  • Monitor and evaluate the plan, modifying it as needed and adapting to change
  • Identify and respond to risks
  • Reflect on and evaluate the planning process and its outcomes


  • Understand, manage and improve own behaviour and performance
  • Demonstrate initiative and independence
  • Evaluate own personal effectiveness
  • Manage time effectively
  • Be able to respond appropriately to conflict
  • Understand roles and teams
  • Work effectively within a team
  • Respect and respond to the values and opinions of others, presenting own views effectively

National/Foundation Skills Challenge Certificate

120 guided learning hours have been allocated for the completion of the Skills Challenge Certificate; this provides time for learners to develop the essential and employability skills to the appropriate level and to undertake the assessment of the four components. Guided learning time represents only those hours in which a tutor is present and contributing to the learning process. In some organisations this is known as ‘contact time’. This time includes taught content, supervised practical work outside the classroom and supervised study time.

At Key Stage 4 all learners may undertake the same Individual Project topics and the same Challenge Briefs, with attainment at either National or Foundation level being determined through assessment. When completing the three Challenges, at least one must be completed individually and at least one must be completed in a team (consisting of 3-6 members).

The four components allow learners to develop and apply all the essential and employability skills but the assessment of each component will be focused on specific skills, as detailed in the following table.

Weighting Assessed
50% • Planning and
• Critical Thinking
and Problem Solving
•Digital Literacy
Enterprise and
20% • Creativity and
• Personal
• Digital Literacy
15% • Critical Thinking
and Problem Solving
• Creativity and
15% • Planning and
• Personal

To achieve the National Welsh Baccalaureate learners must achieve the National Skills Challenge Certificate together with the following Supporting Qualifications:

  • GCSE English Language or GCSE Welsh Language at grade A* – C;
  • GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy OR GCSE Mathematics at grade A* – C;
  • A minimum of three further GCSEs grade A*- C, of which two may be equivalent qualifications.

To achieve the Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate learners must achieve either the National or Foundation Skills Challenge Certificate together with the following Supporting Qualifications:

  • GCSE English Language or GCSE Welsh Language at grade A* – G;
  • GCSE Mathematics – Numeracy or GCSE Mathematicsat grade A* – G;
  • A minimum of three further GCSEs grade A*- G, of which two may be equivalent qualifications.

Teaching and Learning Programme

A sufficient amount of time should be allocated to teaching and learning to enable the learners to develop the 7 skills to their full potential, and for them to understand the component specific context. The teaching and learning programme must allow learners the chance to apply the skills within context before assessment should started. This can be via the use of mini challenges. It is the responsibility of the teacher to ensure that the learners are fully equipped before they undertake the controlled assessment for each of the three Challenges.

Teaching and learning of skills – practice applying skills in context (use mini challenge) – Controlled Assessment of challenge

It is advised that learners approach the Individual Project having firstly developed the full range of essential and employability skills through the three Challenges. The Individual Project is an opportunity for Learners to consolidate and showcase their skills development in the context of an area of personal interest, or one that reflects future career or educational aspirations.

When the learners are ready to undertake the assessment, teachers must prepare the Challenge Brief. This is carried out by either:

  • Amending a Generic Brief with agreement from Regional Support Officer
  • Using an Approved Brief developed by an Organisation found on the WJEC Public Website.

At the beginning of the controlled assessment period, every learner should receive a document containing a copy of:

  • Challenge Brief – either a generic or approved brief
  • Task sheet and Assessment Grid (WJEC Secure Website)

Controlled Assessment of Challenges

Each of the three Challenges must be carried out under controlled assessment conditions. There is no specified date when the controlled assessment has to be taken. The Centre can decide when it is taken and it allows different classes to take the assessment at different times.

Within each Challenge and Task, controls have been set for time, resources, supervision, collaboration and feedback. These controls can be found in the summary table in this handbook, linked to each Challenge.

Centres must ensure:

  • The Challenges are completed under the specified controlled conditions
  • Learners do not have access to the Tasks prior to the start of the controlled assessment
  • During the set controlled assessment hours, teachers must not help learners, unless there is an issue of health and safety
  • A time log of the controlled assessment hours is completed for each Challenge and each teaching group
  • Learners’ work must be kept secure at all times.

At least one Challenge must be carried out in a team and one as an individual. At this level the Enterprise and Employability Challenge must be completed as a team activity. Also, it is expected that many Centres are likely to complete the Community Challenge as a team.

The WJEC Delivery Handbook is on the Shared area in the WBQ KS4 folder. Please familiarise yourself with the delivery programme. Page numbers of the challenges are below:

  • Community Challenge pages 6 – 12
  • Enterprise and Employability Challenge pages 13 – 18
  • Global Citizenship Challenge pages 19 – 26
  • Individual Project pages 27 – 31

How the Welsh Baccalaureate (WBQ) is taught at Cathays High School

Year 10 have 4 hours of WBQ a fortnight and Year 11 have 5 hours of WBQ a fortnight. During these lessons, PSE is taught either as one off lessons with speakers or focus weeks.

Year 10 are taught in a carousel. They will complete Enterprise and Employability, Community and Global Citizenship.

Year 11 complete the Individual Project. Mr S. Davies is available during Year 11 lessons to work with pupils new to the school or require extra intervention.
Ms C. Merriott, Mr D. Owen-Harris and Ms B. Churches will also help the Skills Challenges during this time.

All classes are set.

Personal and Social Education (PSE)

1 lesson per week

  • Individual Investigation. A study about a social contemporary issue in Wales and another country or region. Topics for research are chosen by the pupils in consultation with the teacher, here are some examples: Crime, Domestic violence, Drug misuse, Teenage pregnancy, Obesity and Racism.

(Foundation Level -1500 words and only focus on Wales)

(Intermediate level 1500-2000 words Wales and another country or region)

  • Social Issues(WEW)- Investigation
  • Positive Relationships  – Domestic Violence, forced marriages, Healthy relationships, parenting skills
  • Good Health- Sex and Relationships Education, Substance Use and Misuse
  • Sustainable Development- Protecting the environment
  • Active Citizenship- Social and Moral Issues-Challenging Extremism and extremist behaviour
  • Politics (WEW unit)- What is democracy, features of a democracy, Layers of power in the UK, Welsh Government and devolved powers

Community Participation (delivered through PSE)

  • 15 hours – active and responsible citizens helping others through active community participation

Work Related Education- (lessons are taught in WBQ PSE)

Working with an Employer- Year 10 -30 hours -Work Experience in last 2 weeks of summer term

Team Enterprise- 15 hours –to develop entrepreneurial skills (Year 10 summer term)

Wales Europe and the World (WEW)

1 lesson per week

  • Welsh GCSE-Language Module
  • Cultural Issues- Wales and welsh culture
  • Economic and Technological Issues- Wales and tourism. Work and employment opportunities
Learning Coach Interviews

Staff: Head of Year, Form Tutors, Head of School

Each pupil has a Learning coach interview once per half term to support pupils in the 14-19 learning pathways.


All candidates must complete a diary at Foundation or Intermediate level as appropriate.

In the Diaries students record all their learning outcomes for PSE, WEW, Community Participation, WE and Team Enterprise.

Essential Skills Wales and Wider Essential Skills

Staff: Maths, English and Science Departments

AON and ICT- Holiday Hunter Project Maths Department: Level 2

Communication Skills- English Department: Level 1 and 2

Problem Solving – Science Department: Level 1

What do I need to complete to achieve the WBQ Intermediate Diploma?

  • Two ESW/Wider Essential Skills at Level 2 and two at Level 1
  • Individual Investigation
  • Diary-completed and signed off  for : PSE , WEW, WE, CP and TE
  • Work Experience booklet
  • Learning Coach Booklet
  • 4 GSCEs A* to C

What do I need to complete to achieve the WBQ Foundation Diploma?

  • Four ESW/KS at level 1
  • Individual Investigation
  • Diary-completed and signed off  for: PSE , WEW, WE, CP and TE
  • Work Experience booklet
  • Learning Coach Booklet
  • 4 GSCEs at D-G

When does all the work need to be completed by?

  • Timeline for WBQ KS4 Year 11

    Individual Investigation:

    First Draft: Week Beginning 3rd Dec

    Final Draft: Week Beginning 17th Dec

    Internal Moderation:  January

    Final Deadline for any changes:  Week Beginning 4th February

    Submitted to Exam Board: End of February


    AON, ICT, Problem Solving, Communication

    All to be completed by the week beginning 4th February

    Internal Moderation:  February 9th

    Final deadline for any changes: Week beginning 18th February

    Submitted to Exam Board: End of February


    All completed by the week beginning Tuesday 7th May

    Submitted to Exam Board- Beginning of June


    Timeline for WBQ KS4 Year 10

    Individual Investigation:

    First Draft: Week Beginning 17th Dec

    Final Draft: Week Beginning 14th January

    Internal Moderation:   Week Beginning 4th February

    Final Deadline for any changes:  Week Beginning 25th February

    Submitted to Exam Board:  March


    AON/ICT, Science, Communication

    Final dates still to be decided.


    All completed by May

    Submitted to Exam Board- Beginning of June

    Work Experience/Team Enterprise/Community Participation

    Completed by July

What is the WBQ Diploma worth at KS4?

The Intermediate Diploma is worth 3 GCSEs at A* – C and pupils can go on to study the Advanced Diploma in KS5.

The Foundation Diploma is worth 3GCSEs D-G and pupils can go on to study the Intermediate Diploma in KS5.

How can Parents help?

From time to time we may need to contact you if your child is not completing work on time. Please check planners for homework. We will send out letters and issue detentions as a last resort.

Any queries please contact Mrs C Merriott.